'no endings, no endings, no'

Publisher:
Brandl & Schlesinger
Citation:
Southerly, 2007, vol 67 nos 1-2, pp. 29 - 42
Issue Date:
2007-01
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This piece of creative non-fiction takes its title from the final sentence of Thea Astley's final novel, Drylands (1999). The essay was praised by poet and literary critic Dr Michael Brennan for its 'intelligence and openness, for its ability to see into the heart of what reading, of what literature, gives us, to express a kind of reading both ofliterature and life ... critical as much as it is creative' (Southerly 671-2 launch). It was described by an Australian Book Review reviewer, Ian Templeman, as a 'powerfully engaging stor[y]' (ABR November 2007: 58). The essay is best described as a hybrid of memoir and literary criticism that blurs the boundaries between the genres and raises questions about the nature of reading in context. How reading is shaped, reformed or even deformed by the position of the reader is a topic raised in Astley's final novel in her depiction of an illiterate man who is taught to read by his librarian/writer partner. My essay, 'no endings no endings no', examines the way books are read in a family experiencing crisis, of a medical and emotional nature, and forms conclusions regarding the nature of the act of reading itself. It comprises part of my broader research topic regarding reading and readership, including reader reception, in the contemporary zone.
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